Janice Horner: Don‘t judge jobless

March 6, 2014 

In response to the Feb. 28 letter “Individual responsibility”: I can only assume that the letter-writer has not had to search for a job in this economy.

I am a master’s-prepared professional who was laid off last fall when my position was eliminated due to budget cuts (i.e., “through no fault of my own”). Fortunately for my family, I received a severance package, and we had emergency savings. We immediately cut out all nonessential expenses to stretch our savings as I had no idea how long it would take to secure employment.

It is almost six months later, and I still don’t have a full-time job despite applying for multiple positions every week. The job market for someone like me is very different from that of a skilled worker.

I applied for unemployment when my severance ran out. Given my previous salary, I am eligible for the maximum ($279 per week after taxes), which barely covers my monthly health and dental insurance premiums. I also have to apply for at least two jobs every week to keep my benefits.

I am not sure where the writer gets the idea that individuals receiving unemployment are just “giving up” and waiting for the government to provide an answer. The majority of the unemployed need compassion, not criticism.

Janice Horner

Raleigh

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